BC Ferries vessel pulled from service along major Victoria to Vancouver route

BC Ferries vessel pulled from service along major Victoria to Vancouver route
Nicholas Pescod
The Coastal Celebration vessel is shown.

BC Ferries is suspending service on the Coastal Celebration vessel, which sails between Victoria and Vancouver, for approximately one week.

On Wednesday afternoon, the company said it would be putting the ferry into drydock for repairs, after it cancelled afternoon sailings aboard the vessel.

BC Ferries says the Coastal Celebration will enter drydock on July 24, and is estimated to return to service “late next week.”

While it is not in service, BC Ferries says there will be eight fewer sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen per day starting Thursday, July 20.

BC Ferries says an oil leak coming from an ineffective blade seal on the vessel is the main concern.

“The hydraulic oil leaking from the blade seal is classified as a light mineral oil,” said BC Ferries in a news release Wednesday.

“Prior to entering dry dock, the vessel will be surrounded by a containment boom,” the company added.

A spill response team will be monitoring the ship until it enters drydock on Monday, and the equipment responsible for the leak will be shut down until then, according to BC Ferries.

“BC Ferries and Transport Canada monitored the Coastal Celebration as it performed its regular operations on July 17, 18 and 19 and determined that the vessel be removed from service until its repair was complete.”

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BC Ferries says anyone with a reserved sailing Wednesday will be contacted by BC Ferries Customer Care with a notice of if they have been moved to a new sailing time, or if their booking needs to be refunded instead.

Meanwhile, anyone with a reservation for a sailing on the Coastal Celebration between July 19 and July 26 will be contacted by BC Ferries saying their booking has changed, with an option of moving or cancelling the reservation for free. This is expected to affect approximately 7,200 bookings over the course of the week, the company tells CHEK News.

BC Ferries said late Wednesday that an extra round trip for the Spirit of Vancouver Island will be scheduled July 20, 21 and 23 at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m, and expected to be available to book Thursday.

Travellers without a reservation are encouraged to consider walking on, according to BC Ferries.

The upcoming repairs come weeks after the Coastal Celebration underwent an unexpected, extended refit.

The ferry received its annual refit in June and was supposed to return to service on June 15, but was delayed until July.

The extended refit aboard the Coastal Celebration led to cancellations during the Canada Day long weekend.

“BC Ferries is not yet able to confirm that this leak is related to the work carried out during the vessel’s recent annual refit, but a strong possibility exists,” said the company.

Travellers should also note that as of Wednesday afternoon, all vehicle reservations for sailings departing from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen were fully reserved until July 31.

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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